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‘God give us closure’: Mallory Beach’s family grateful for support, end of crash search

After an exhaustive, week-long search for Mallory Beach, her family prayed during church for the end Sunday.

They received it soon after.

Boaters found the body of the missing Hampton teen near Broad River Landing early Sunday afternoon. Two men who searched for Beach after leaving church made the discovery shortly after launching, Beach’s uncle said Monday.

The recovery ended a search that included multiple law enforcement agencies and a force of volunteers after Beach, 19, went overboard after a boat crashed into bridge pilings in Archers Creek on Feb. 24.

Mallory Beach’s father, Phillip Beach, told The Beaufort Gazette and The Island Packet his daughter was a Christian and that he hopes her death serves as an example to those who might not be as certain in their faith.

“If we had to give up our child — which we did — for others to come to know Christ, then glory be to God,” Phillip Beach said Monday. “This is basically a wake-up call for a lot of people, because someone else’s child is going to be next. I’m very fortunate that my child knew the Lord and knew to cry out to the Lord in times of need.”

A visitation for Mallory will be held 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Open Arms Fellowship Church, 402 Hoover Street North in Hampton. Funeral services will be 11 a.m. Thursday at the church.

Burial will be in the Sandy Run Cemetery.

The body was found after the family asked for volunteers to search nearby waters last week.

Mallory’s uncle, Randy Beach, estimated a couple hundred people joined the search in boats, kayaks or by walking the shorelines. Volunteers organized during the weekend first from Broad River Landing and then on Lemon Island as part of an effort organized by Lottie Campenella and her husband, Burton firefighter Eric Swanson.

Volunteers raised thousands of dollars for gas and supplies, helped facilitate donations from local restaurants to nourish those searching, and coordinated efforts of local boaters.

“It just showed the amount of effort people wanted to put in just for the family to get closure,” Campenella said. “It could have been one of our own kids.”

Mallory Beach graduated from Wade Hampton High School in 2017 and played soccer, principal Bonnie Wilson said. She was active in student government and Beta Club, Wilson said.

The school had guidance counselors and a community pastor available last week, the principal said.

“Mallory was the type of person who really positively touched peoples’ lives,” Wilson said. “Just her demeanor, the way she treated people, was exemplary and always very pleasant.”

The coroner’s office Monday identified the body recovered Sunday as Mallory Beach and released an autopsy report that said she had died from drowning and secondary blunt force trauma.

Randy Beach posted on Facebook on Sunday afternoon that the search was over and asked volunteers to spread the word.

More than $3,500 was raised to buy lip balm, sunscreen, bug spray, snacks, bottled water and gas cards for those going out on the water. The supplies were placed in small white bags with #FindMallory and hearts written on the side.

Jim ‘N Nicks donated cheese biscuits and sweet tea. Gilligan’s Seafood Restaurant gave sandwiches and hush puppies.

Remaining cash donations, gift cards, snacks and water will go to Beaufort Water Search and Rescue, a volunteer organization, Campenella said. Another $1,400 remaining from online donations will go to the Beach family or a charity of their choice, she said.

As the family waited not far from the gate to Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island last week while rescue crews searched, people brought food and supplies and stopped to pray with those gathered, Randy Beach said.

Later, the family prayed for an end to the search.

“’God give us closure on this,’” Phillip Beach said the family prayed in church Sunday morning.

“There was just such overwhelming support and prayers for our family,” he said. “And we felt it.”

Stephen Fastenau covers northern Beaufort County as a reporter for The Beaufort Gazette and The Island Packet, where he has worked since 2010 and been recognized with state and national awards. He studied journalism and political science at the University of South Carolina in Columbia and lives in Beaufort.
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